Setting the New Expectation

Marcus Howard and GreaterHealth Pharmacy and Wellness

"I wanted to make a larger impact," said Marcus Howard, owner of GreaterHealth Pharmacy and Wellness, when describing his pharmacy journey. It was more than filling prescriptions or meeting financial quotas (though they’re part of the goal) — it was about creating valuable and lasting relationships with people on both sides of the pharmacy counter.

Since its 2022 launch, GreaterHealth Pharmacy and Wellness has been a vital part of the St. Louis Community through its exceptional customer service and wide range of pharmacy services.

We sat down with Marcus to discuss his journey, approach to pharmacy work, and where he sees GreaterHealth Pharmacy in the future.

Surveying the Field

Marcus Howard’s first exposure to the pharmacy industry is similar to many fellow pharmacy professionals: he saw it all around him, even if he didn’t know it at the time.

“When I was younger,” Marcus says, “I lived in a low-income area and saw the health disparities surrounding me, including family members and friends.”

He also noticed a lack of trust in the healthcare system, leading to family and friends not taking medication and further exacerbating their conditions. Noticing how this mistrust impacted their health, Marcus decided to get into healthcare.

He earned his Doctorate in Human Development at North Carolina State University with a focus on the intersection of science and education, specifically exploring executive function in adolescents from low-income areas. During the COVID pandemic, he went back to his native St. Louis to open a pharmacy.

GreaterHealth, Greater Expectations

GreaterHealth Pharmacy and Wellness opened its doors at the end of 2022 and they have been a bonafide healthcare destination ever since.

They do it all, from flu, COVID, and strep testing and med sync programs to home delivery — a huge factor for patient convenience. It’s that convenience factor that reminds Marcus and his pharmacy why they do what they do.

“We’re able to deliver the prescription to the patient,” Marcus says, “and to see a smile on their face and tell us ‘You changed my life’ or ‘You helped me so much’ — that’s one of the best experiences of my life.”

Though prescription delivery plays a huge role in GreaterHealth’s success, it’s when you walk through the pharmacy doors that you realize why they’re as great as they are.

“One of the really exciting things for me is seeing people come into the pharmacy and go ‘Wow, this is nice!’ or ‘This is clean, y’all are so professional.’ I think we exceed people’s expectations of what a Black-owned business is and how it operates, specifically in St. Louis. We’re fighting the perception of what people perceive as a Black-owned business.”

Fighting the perception is only half the battle — Marcus doesn’t want to subvert expectations so much as he wants to set the new standard altogether. With its friendly staff, strong social media presence, and positive work culture, GreaterHealth does exactly that.

Looking and Going Above and Beyond

As it stands, GreaterHealth Pharmacy and Wellness is the number-one free delivery pharmacy in St. Louis. It accepts all major insurance programs and has an express clinic with a nurse practitioner on staff at all times. Whatever services you think a pharmacy should provide, chances are they provide it.

However, the services don’t tell the whole story. They provide more than a clean bill of health — they make patients more informed and aware of their health journeys.

“A lot of mistrust comes when people don’t understand their medications. Being able to sit down and talk to our patients about their medications has been really helpful.”

Patient literacy is an especially important point of concern for Marcus. It’s why he opened GreaterHealth in the first place: to turn doubters into believers, eliminating fears patients may have and replacing concern with a clean bill of health.

“Becoming a healthcare hub is what we wanted to do when we opened our doors, but it’s more than that.”

Marcus continues, “We’re not just a Black-owned pharmacy or just a radically inclusive pharmacy — we want to set a standard for work culture.”

When asked about where he sees GreaterHealth in the future, he reflects on that very culture, how it’s the people — both the staff and patients — who make the job.

It’s the work culture that he hopes will define GreaterHealth’s place in the St. Louis community, whether in the form of team lunches, get-togethers, or simple conversations.

“It’s always about continuous learning. It's always about getting better. It's not about blaming others for mistakes. It's about learning from each other, holding each other accountable, but also helping each other reach their goals.”

Marcus Howard looks to set the new standard for independent pharmacy. He knows a focus on diversity will close a culture gap and trust gap, and his work in GreaterHealth Pharmacy and Wellness, along with his staff, are doing that on a daily basis.

Written by:
Kevin Diaz
Digital Content Writer, RedSail Technologies
Kevin Diaz

Kevin’s seven years of retail pharmacy work gives him first-hand knowledge of what it means to run an efficient pharmacy. His work as a pharmacy technician assures readers that he not only knows what he’s talking about but is able to demystify complex pharmacy concepts for readers and patients alike. In essence, he walked the walk so he can talk the talk.

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